Mount St. Joseph University

Seniors Discuss Capstone Experiences

Dateline: student newspaper

By: Jennifer Smith

File Under: capstone, senior

Capstone is the paramount of the college career, but for many seniors it also means a lot of stress, a lot of work and a lot of time management.

Four Mount seniors from all different majors weighed in on their experiences with their capstone projects this semester.

When asked what advice they would give to lower classman on how to manage the work of their capstones, many jokingly said they don’t manage the work well at all.  But in reality, these seniors work hard to not only manage their capstones, but they also work at co-ops and most take a full course load as well.

Hannah Kimmich is one of these seniors who are currently engaged in capstone.  As an English major, Kimmich is assigned to write a 15-page paper and a presentation about her project of comparing and contrasting two works of literature from the same time period.

When Kimmich was asked how she was dealing with completing the work along with all her other responsibilities as a student, she said that looking at the big picture of her project only makes her feel overwhelmed. 

Kimmich said, “Setting a schedule and taking it step by step is the best way for me to complete my work.”

The English major said that she deals with stress by taking frequent breaks while working on her project and listening to music, watching TV, or exercising.  

“It’s not impossible, but it’s more work than I expected,” said Kimmich.  “You just need to make sure you stay on top of things, don’t let work pile up and listen to your advisors.”

Michelle Woelfel, who is a Psychology major, said that she deals with her capstone by managing her time well and by spacing out her work.  Her major requires her to write a 6-to-8-page paper along with a presentation on a psychological perspective of gender inequality in the workplace. 

Woelfel said “Sticking to a timeline that outlines what I have to do helps me get the work done.”

Camille Chiappone, a history major, also talked about how her capstone entails two seminar courses that are taken in the last two years of her education.  This semester she is taking her last seminar course and is writing a historiography, which is an analysis of sources about her topic and how information about that topic has changed over time.

Chiappone said “It’s been a lot of work, but the professors seem to scaffold the assignments into a timeline to make it more manageable.”

The history major explained that she is used to writing papers because of her major, so that part doesn’t worry her, but she just tends to take 10 minute breaks while writing to make the work manageable.  She says it also helps to have soft music playing while writing.

Chiappone advised that all people taking capstone in the future need to “get to know the library, learn how to research and learn time management.”

Robert Fay, a Biology major, is taking capstone which requires him to contemplate how to be an ethical scientist and to apply knowledge with a cumulative experience, such as a co-op.  He will be presenting his final capstone at the Celebration of Teaching and Learning at the Mount on April 15.

Fay says that he relieves the stress of working on this project by hanging out with Chiappone, who happens to be his fiancé.  He also takes breaks by weightlifting and playing videogames.

The Biology major admits that the research for capstone is more work, but the most important thing is to have fun with your project.

Fay said, “Make sure it’s something you enjoy so that it motivates you to get work done.”

While all majors have to go through the requirement of capstone in order to graduate, all of these seniors agreed that it is worth the work. 

Kimmich said, “It brings together the core and courses you’ve taken and shows you how it relates to your major.”

“It brings all of the classes and experiences you’ve had and allows you to apply them to your project,” Woelfel added. 

These seniors also claimed that it isn’t as intimidating as people perceive capstone to be, but instead it helps you with your future endeavors.

Fay concluded, “Capstone is a great way to employ knowledge in a practical sense for future careers. 

 “It prepares you for graduate schools and the work you will be doing in the future,” said Chiappone. “We have always been told it is important, but doing it actually shows us.”